We cannot afford to continue avoiding the “enormous cost” of untreated addiction in this country. Substance misuse is, arguably, the most significant cost driver in our country. It has been a topic of national concern by all political parties since Benjamin Rush’s early papers on alcohol abuse, penned when he was the first surgeon general of the U.S. in 1784.
All that to say, since our country’s inception until now, no presidential candidate has sponsored a dialogue on Addiction Recovery. There are some 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug misuse. Secretary Clinton, like it or not, is the first Candidate in this, or any other Presidential contest who has brought forth the idea that people in recovery are welcome and encouraged to be a part of remedying this public health catastrophe.
Whether or not you are going to vote for Secretary Clinton, I hope that you will support the idea that any person running for President of the United States is “honor and duty bound” to bring forth recovery-oriented solutions to substance misuse because it is a primary public health concern in our country.
The fact is that people are dying unnecessarily from untreated substance misuse. The U.S. addiction rate is much higher than any other western nation. Our rates are almost double that of our three closest Western European counterparts (Norway, Sweden, and the UK lead Europe in Drug Misuse Percentage with rates approaching 4 percent as compared to the US rate of 7 percent).
If you are involved in public discourse, I hope you will bring forth the idea of supporting Recovery in local and national politics. Addiction is an equal opportunity disease. If, by chance, the Party or individual you support for President is not willing to bring up the topic of Recovery, I hope you will ask yourself, “Why not? What’s up with that?” We don’t need anyone leading this country who is not willing to take on its most important issue(s).
Addiction touches everyone. People are dying and we need all the help we can get. If you won’t support Hillary, I hope you will support your candidate of choice to wake up and address this critical issue.
Marty Boldin, LICSW, MLADC, LCS, CPS
Marty Boldin is a Dean’s Fellowship recipient at the Boston University School of Social Work where he is pursing a PhD. His primary area of focus is addiction science with specialization in the area of trauma studies. He is also researching social welfare implications of Marijuana Policy. Marty is a member of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery where he chairs the Recovery Services Subcommittee.
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